UN chief urges restraint from Israel, Arab sides after deadly clashes (2)

13:35, May 16, 2011      

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"The secretary-general is acutely conscious of the unsustainable status quo in the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is only thrown into sharper relief by the profound political changes now under way in the region," the statement said. "He reiterates the urgent need for a just, lasting and comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, which ensures dignity and security for all, including an end to occupation, an end to conflict, and a just and agreed solution to the plight of Palestinian refugees."

"The secretary-general calls for a renewed and sustained effort to resume Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and advance the broader goal of a comprehensive regional peace in the Middle East," the statement said.

The latest round of U.S.-brokered peace talks halted in September 2010, due to a dispute over Jewish settlement building. The Palestinians say they cannot negotiate with Israel while the construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967, goes on.

The call by the secretary-general for restraint was echoed by Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas, the force commander of the UN peacekeeping operation in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Cuevas said he was in personal contact with the command of the Lebanese and Israeli parties as part of UNIFIL's efforts to prevent further casualties.

Meanwhile, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and UN emergency relief coordinator, Valerie Amos, who is currently visiting the occupied Palestinian territory, also voiced extreme concern about the Sunday clashes.

"The situation cannot continue in this way. It is innocent people who are losing their lives," Amos said in a statement issued by her office at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Amos met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as she visited Ramallah, East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank.

"Palestinians are utterly frustrated by the impact of Israeli policies on their lives. They can't move freely around their territory. They can't plan their communities. They are evicted from their homes. Their homes are regularly demolished," said Amos, who is expected to visit the Gaza Strip on Monday, the third day of her four-day visit to the region.

Source: Xinhua
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